Friday, July 31, 2009

Things are so bad . . .

that this is considered good news.

"The American economy shrank at an annual rate of 1 percent from April through June, the government reported on Friday, stoking hopes that the worst recession since the Great Depression was nearly over."

There was a time when that would be considered terrible news.

Obama's friend Chavez

"Chávez withdrew his ambassador from Colombia and threatened to break diplomatic relations to protest complaints by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that three grenade launchers found in the hands of Colombia's biggest guerrilla group had been sold by the Swedish government to Venezuela in 1988. Chávez denied Uribe's charge, which seems to provide more evidence of ties between Chávez and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been waging a 45-year battle to overthrow Colombia's democratically elected government. Tommy Stromberg, the political counselor at the Swedish Embassy in Bogotá, said Wednesday that his government has been pressing Venezuela for weeks to explain how the three shoulder-fired AT4 grenade launchers and ammunition ended up with the FARC."

Neutral / socialist Sweden, by no stretch of the imagination a puppet of "U.S. imperialism", has proof that weapons purchased by Venezuela end up in the hands of Columbian terrorists.

Why does Obama still want better relations with Chavez?

Iraq: Your tax dollars at work

The Iranian government is a theocratic dictatorship bent on the destruction of western democracy.

Why are we paying for an army in Iraq (we pay their salaries, we buy their weapons, we train their officers) to fight and kill opponents of the Iranian regime?

"Iraqi military and police units clashed with members of an Iranian opposition group for the second day on Wednesday as security forces sought to seize control of a camp previously protected by the American military. At least six people who lived in the camp were killed during the assault, two of whom had been shot to death, according to the Iraqi government and residents of the camp. . . . The site, Camp Ashraf, is home to about 3,400 Iranian exiles committed to the overthrow of the Islamic revolutionary government in Tehran."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The real Gates scandal

"The arrest of Gates for disorderly conduct in his own home by a white police officer sparked a national debate over racial profiling and police conduct. The controversy intensified when President Obama said police "acted stupidly" when they arrested Gates, his friend."

The real scandal is that the president of the U.S. publicly attacked the cops and defended his friend before he knew any of the facts.

That's called an abuse of authority.

Another defeat for Obama - -

Political capital is limited.

If it is squandered early on one or two big ticket items (like multi trillion dollar stimulus and bailout packages that don't work as promised), it's gone.

In this case, the defeat was at the hands of his fellow Democrats.

"The U.S. House defeated a proposed sweeping reform of the federal food safety system on Wednesday amid complaints it would bury small farmers in paperwork with no assurance of an increase in inspections. . . . The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to order food recalls, step up the frequency of plant inspections, require facilities to have a food safety plan in place and give FDA more access to company records."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health care cause and effect

The issue:

"[A] health care proposal that would cut costs by allowing generic drugs to compete sooner with pricey biotechnology drugs . . . ."

The cause:

"Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., whose district is home to dozens of biotech companies, is sponsoring a similar measure. Drug company employees and political action committees have donated $645,000 since 1992 to Eshoo — second only to the computer and Internet industry. This year, she is the biggest recipient of pharmaceutical money in the House, the data show."

The effect:

"This month, a Senate committee approved 12 years of exclusivity. Attention shifts to the House, where a companion, 12-year bill sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., has 139 co-sponsors — compared with 14 lawmakers who back a competing measure that would allow generic competition after five years. Eshoo said she is working to incorporate her plan into the larger health care bill the House Energy and Commerce panel will consider when Congress returns in September."

In exchange for over $600,000 in donations, Eshoo's bill would insert a provision in the larger health care bill to guarantee that drug companies get 5 extra years of exclusivity, resulting in higher prices, higher costs and higher profits.

This is corruption, plain and simple.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Taliban is untrustworthy?

"Pakistan on Monday began investigating the detained cleric who brokered a failed peace deal that put three million people under sharia law but was shattered by renewed Taliban fighting. . . . Sharia law was the key demand of Fazlullah's uprising. An initial ceasefire accompanied the February 16 deal -- widely criticised in the West and at home -- but his group refused to disarm as demanded by the government. When armed Taliban fighters advanced from Swat into the district of Buner, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Islamabad, Pakistan launched a massive offensive under US pressure to crush Islamists considered a major threat."

Are our "allies" in Pakistan really surprised to learn that the Taliban terrorists can't be trusted to keep their word? And, did three million people have to be subjected to Taliban tyrants in order to learn that lesson?

The unethical senator from Connecticut

Not Lieberman. The other unethical senator from Connecticut.

"Despite his denials, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd knew from the start he was getting a VIP mortgage break from a major lending group, an official involved in the loan testified secretly to Congress. Dodd and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) both got preferred treatment from Countrywide Financial Corp., but have maintained all along they didn't know they were benefiting at the time their mortgage packages were crafted. The two men were part of an elite group known as "friends of Angelo," a reference to Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Countrywide later lost billions in home loans in the subprime-mortgage crisis that was a precursor to the nation's financial meltdown."

The last time Dodd was in the news, he was lieing about his advance knowledge of the AIG bonuses.

The Democratic party needs to decide whether Dodd's "good" stands on various issues (and Dodd has been very good on Iraq and health care) excuse Dodd's numerous ethical lapses. If they do, then we need to realize we can no longer complain about the ethics of others.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Remember anthrax?

"A year after government scientist Bruce Ivins killed himself while under investigation for the lethal anthrax letters of 2001, the Justice Department is on the verge of closing the long, costly and vexing case. . . . Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd declined to comment on the discussions but said the agency and the FBI continue working to conclude the investigation. "We anticipate closing the case in the near future," Boyd added. The anthrax letters were sent to lawmakers and news organizations as the nation reeled in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. . . . The spores killed five people . . . Seventeen other people were sickened. . . . Authorities tried to build a case against biowarfare expert Steven Hatfill, but ultimately had to pay him a multimillion-dollar settlement. Then, last year, they announced that the mystery had been solved, but the suspect was dead. . . . Officials insisted they were on the verge of indicting him and could have convicted him."

This was the second deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

They're going to blame it on a dead guy, and close their file.

And, we'll never know who did it.

Budget deficits killed universal health care

"The United States is the only developed nation that does not have a comprehensive national healthcare plan for all its citizens, and Obama campaigned on a promise to offer affordable healthcare to all Americans. However, the recession and a deepening budget deficit have made it difficult to win support for costly new programs."

Why the passive voice?

The budget deficit hasn't been "deepening" by itself.

Elected leaders - - the president and congress - - "deepened" the budget deficit with a too large, pork laden stimulus bill and multi billion (trillion?) dollar bailouts of Wall Street and Detroit. Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al. spent trillions of dollars they didn't have in the first few months of this administration.

Now, they can't convince enough people that there's enough money left over to comfortably fund "health insurance reform". And, we can forget about "universal health care", "single payer" or "medicare for all" for another generation.

To quote our last president, "Heck of a job!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

$2 billion down, $998 billion to go

The administration's funding source for the $1 trillion cost of what they now call "health insurance reform"? "Medicare savings"! But . . .

"The CBO concluded an administration-backed proposal to give a new commission power to ratchet down what Medicare pays doctors and hospitals would save just $2 billion over the next decade."

Now, where do they get the other $998 billion?

Where were the "fiscal conservatives"?

"On the home front, property-tax rates are poised to increase for many homeowners still recovering from the economic storm. So, too, are water fees and trash-pickup costs. In the community, some libraries and parks are closing an extra day, pool hours are likely to be reduced and bus service curtailed. Even senior meals on wheels won't be as plentiful. At school, there will be fewer assistant principals in offices and teachers in classrooms. Students will find fewer guidance counselors to turn to. As local governments throughout South Florida face the painful reality of fallen property values, residents will unmistakably feel the pinch. ``You are going to see library hours cut; you are going to see park hours cut,'' said Gary Resnick, president of the Broward League of Cities and mayor of Wilton Manors, which now closes city hall on Fridays to save money. ``The cuts are not going to be invisible.'' The sunken property values opened budget holes that practically every city, county, school and hospital district in Miami-Dade and Broward counties must fill. Simply, less money is coming in to public coffers . . . "

This is a south Florida story, but it is being repeated nationwide.

The early Bush years were a time of great economic prosperity.

A time of great economic prosperity when our leaders were all self described "fiscal conservatives".

You would have thought "fiscal conservatives" would have been putting aside some money for a rainy day.

Health insurance reform

"President Barack Obama's healthcare reform drive suffered a setback on Thursday when Senate leaders said they would not pass it before a month-long August recess, but Obama urged lawmakers to keep working toward approval by the end of the year."

It started out as a drive for "universal health care".

Then, it became "health care reform".

Now, it's "health insurance reform".

Sometime this fall, a hodge-podge package of new regulations and impossible mandates, entitled "health insurance reform", will be signed into law.

Obama will declare victory.

Everyone else will know better.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The real danger to black men that should concern Obama, Gates, Jackson, Sharpton . . . but doesn't

"The real tragedy of this episode is that the genuine danger faced by blacks in America is not posed by racist police officers but rather by other blacks, particularly blacks armed with guns and lacking any moral constraints on using them. Black men make up only about 4 percent of the nation’s population, but in 2004 they accounted for 35 percent of its homicide victims, a figure I suspect has changed little since then. And the great majority of these black victims, as Mr. Gates surely knows, are killed by other black men."

Honduran "invasion" fizzles

"Ousted President Manuel Zelaya's plans for a triumphant return to Honduras on Friday fizzled into a brief, 15-foot stroll across this border post -- yet another twist in his homeland's month-long political crisis. Morning began with high hopes: ``My presence in Honduras can undo this coup,'' Zelaya declared. ``The people will surround me, and the soldiers will lower their rifles.'' By afternoon, it was clear it wasn't going to happen. Honduran police began a lunch-hour curfew along the border, so the crowds that Zelaya and his entourage were hoping would usher him safely to the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa had not materialized."

In other words, wannabe Honduran dictator Zelaya has the support of Cuba's dictator Castro, Venezuela's strong man Chavez and America's president Obama . . . but not the Honduran people.

Why are we backing this guy?

Finally, common sense on Cuba

"President Barack Obama said Friday he's open to more overtures to Cuba, such as lifting restrictions on academic travel to the island, but not without signs of changes from the government in Havana."

Now, let's see if he sticks to it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cop acted stupidly?

"President Barack Obama is standing by his assertion that police did not need to arrest a Harvard scholar who was trying to get into his own home. Obama said in an interview with ABC that he has "extraordinary respect" for the challenges and hardships that law enforcement officers face every day in their line of work. But at the same time he said he didn't think it was necessary to arrest Henry Louis Gates Jr. Obama said "cooler heads should have prevailed" in the incident. But he did not retract his initial statement that he thought police had "acted stupidly" . . .

So, if you're a friend and supporter of the president, no investigation or facts are required. Automatically, at a press conference before the eyes of the entire world, the president, as judge and jury, will declare that his friend is innocent, that his friend did nothing wrong, and that the cops are stupid.

Imagine the damage to this cop's life after the president of the United States declared him a stupid racist before a worldwide audience.

I don't think it was the cop who acted stupidly. The cop was simply doing his job. Maybe the president should stick to doing his.

Why are we involved in this?

"Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya made his way toward the Honduran border on Thursday, bracing for a showdown that could lead to the presidency, prison -- or worse. Speaking to reporters in Managua, Zelaya said he would cross into Honduras either Friday or Saturday with the hope of ending the nearly month-old political dispute that has divided his nation and rattled the region. . . . Acknowledging that the encounter could lead to violence, Zelaya called on the army to not ``stain itself with blood, much less the blood of the president of the republic.'' . . . Zelaya won fans among the poor by raising the minimum wage and subsidizing gas for cabdrivers, among other measures. . . . His populist leanings also brought him close to President Hugo Chávez, and in 2008 Honduras joined the ALBA trade bloc, which is headed by Venezuela and includes leftist nations Cuba, Nicaragua and Bolivia."

The Obama government is actively backing Zelaya (alongside Chavez, the Sandinistas and the Castro brothers). Why is Obama encouraging irresponsibility and bloodshed on behalf of a leftist strong man?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Candidate vs. President

Candidate: "No middle-class tax increases."

President: "I will reject any measure primarily funded through taxing middle-class families."

Primarily funded? Sounds like they're planning a middle class tax increase to pay for less than half.

Candidate vs. President

Candidate: "No individual health insurance mandates."

President: "I've been persuaded."

Last night, President Obama pressed for the mandates that candidate Obama vociferously opposed.

Elephants vs. Women

Big news in every major media outlet:

"The world-famous Ringling Bros. circus faces fresh accusations of animal abuse today after undercover videos show handlers beating elephants before they enter the ring. The tape, made by a man who posed as a stagehand for six months, is likely to stir outrage and give animal rights activists new ammunition in their campaign against the circus that bills itself "The Greatest Show on Earth." A worker with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals used a secret camera to document what the group calls the abuse of animals as they're led from holding pens to the stage."

Ignored news about Iranian women (reported here on Monday):

"In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband." . . . "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die. "I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."

Sadly, the mistreatment of elephants in Iran's zoos would be bigger news than the government sponsored rape of women in Iran's jails.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another promise broken

"President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same. . . . "During the previous administration, all of us were critical of (Bush's) assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes he was required to enforce," the Democrats wrote in their letter to Obama. "We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude."

Of course, signing statements were a big story when issued by Bush. Why are they not a big story when issued by Obama?

They won't stop until they destroy Palin

"An independent investigator has found evidence that Gov. Sarah Palin may have violated ethics laws by trading on her position in seeking money for legal fees, in the latest legal distraction for the former vice presidential candidate as she prepares to leave office this week. The report obtained by The Associated Press says Palin is securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through the Alaska Fund Trust, set up by supporters. An investigator for the state Personnel Board says in his July 14 report that there is probable cause to believe Palin used or attempted to use her official position for personal gain because she authorized the creation of the trust as the "official" legal defense fund. The practical effect of the ruling on Palin will be more financial than anything else. The report recommends that Palin refuse to accept payment from the defense fund, and that the complaint be resolved without a formal hearing before the board."

In other words, Palin is accused of being unethical because she raised funds to pay for lawyers to fight the dozens and dozens of baseless and politically motivated ethics complaints against her.

I don't and won't support Palin for president. But, can we all agree that this is unfair? How is she supposed to pay for lawyers to defend herself against nuisance suits and harassment by her political enemies?

177 out of 360 banks misused TARP funds

"Many of the banks that got federal aid to support increased lending have instead used some of the money to make investments, repay debts or buy other banks, according to a new report from the special inspector general overseeing the government's financial rescue program. The report, which will be published Monday, surveyed 360 banks that got money through the end of January and found that 110 had invested at least some of it, that 52 had repaid debts and that 15 had used funds to buy other banks."

So far, and this quickly, and in a limited survey, they've discovered that TARP funds were misused by 177 out of 360 banks.

Those of us who predicted misuse, theft and lack of oversight are already being proved correct.

Out of the trillions of borrowed dollars the federal government is giving away to various big businesses, how much do you think will be stolen and / or misused and never recovered? The political consequences will be huge.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who won in 2006? 2008?

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Monday that the size of the Army will be increased temporarily by 22,000 soldiers to help meet the needs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other missions around the world. This is the second time since 2007 that the military has determined it doesn't have a large enough force. Gates had already increased the size of the Army and Marine Corps shortly after taking the Pentagon job."

"A roadside bomb killed four American troops in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, driving the July death toll for U.S. forces to the highest monthly level of the war. The latest deaths brought to at least 30 the number of American service members who have died in Afghanistan this month — two more than the figure for all of June 2008, which had been the deadliest month for the U.S. since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion drove the Taliban from power."

Who won in 2006 and 2008? Pelosi and Obama? Or, Hastert and Bush? Obama is pursuing, and Congress is funding, those Bush military policies which everyone admits were failures.

The Democrats won two elections in a row by opposing an unpopular war and rampant military spending. Why have Democrats reversed those positions now that they're in office?

2012 preview

"For all the attention generated by Barack Obama's candidacy, the share of eligible voters who actually cast ballots in November declined for the first time in a dozen years. The reason: Older whites with little interest in backing either Barack Obama or John McCain stayed home. . . . According to census data, 66 percent of whites voted last November, down 1 percentage point from 2004. Blacks increased their turnout by 5 percentage points to 65 percent, nearly matching whites. Hispanics improved turnout by 3 percentage points, and Asians by 3.5 percentage points, each reaching a turnout of nearly 50 percent. In all, minorities made up nearly 1 in 4 voters in 2008, the most diverse electorate ever. By age, voters 18-to-24 were the only group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, with 49 percent casting ballots, compared with 47 percent in 2004."

In other words, the winner in 2012 will be the candidate who turns on older white voters without turning off younger and minority voters.

Campaigning vs. Governing

"Self-described ``Mama for Obama'' Judith Reiss sat in the spectator's gallery at the war court here last week clutching a photo of her bond-trader son Joshua, who perished in the World Trade Center on Sept.11, 2001. She then offered a painful observation. . . . Then she offered advice to Barack Obama, the president she stumped for door-to-door in last year's election: Don't close the prison camps at Guantánamo. Don't abandon military commissions justice.
Heartbroken relatives of 9/11 attack victims have emerged as a key constituency in the campaign to stop Obama from making good on his Jan.22 executive order to empty the prison camps and revise the controversial military trials within a year."

Every time Obama makes a decision, Obama disappoints someone who voted for Obama on the basis of a non specific statement. Different people interpreted "hope" and "change" differently.

That's why Obama's approval rating is falling a net 1% per month.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What can you say?

From an interview with a former Iranian prison guard:

"In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband." . . . "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die. "I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."

Beer and wine tastings in grocery stores

With all the problems we're facing, this is what state legislatures are choosing to deal with.

Why do they waste time and money regulating this?

You don't protest in someone's church

If you disagree with the theology and practices and tenets of a particular religion, don't belong to it. But, don't go to that church and purposely act obnoxious.,0,5119611.story

You have the right to behave as you want in your house.

Others have the right to disapprove of your behavior in their houses.

You have no right to anyone's acceptance and approval.

By the way - - I disagree with Mormon positions on most social issues. But, organized protests at Mormon temples remind me of Nazis picketing synagogues in the 1930's.

Death toll of Iraq and Afghanistan wars

4,996 as of Friday.

4,328 in Iraq.

668 in Afghanistan.

In 2006, we elected an anti war congress, with the understanding that there would be a funding cut off.

In 2008, we elected an anti war president, with the understanding that there would be troop withdrawals.

Instead, the Bush/Cheney team is still in charge at the Pentagon and on the ground in the Middle East.

What happened?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Promises vs. Reality

"President Barack Obama told the nation Saturday his health care overhaul is financially sound . . . “I want to be very clear: I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade.”

"The president’s remarks were released late Friday, a few hours before an update by the Congressional Budget Office said the overall cost of the House bill would “result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period.”

Figures don't lie. Politicians? Not so much.

10+ years in Afghanistan

That's the plan. We've already been there 8 years, and we're going to spend at least another 2. That's the plan of the successful "anti-war" candidate's administration.

"The Pentagon's chief said Thursday he could send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan this year than he'd initially expected and is considering increasing the number of soldiers in the Army. . . . Gates said, "I think there will not be a significant increase in troop levels in Afghanistan beyond the 68,000, at least probably through the end of the year. Maybe some increase, but not a lot." So far, the Obama administration has approved sending 68,000 troops to Afghanistan by the end of 2009, including 21,000 that were added this spring. The White House has wanted to wait until the end of the year before deciding whether to deploy more . . ."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Obama at the NAACP

Obama addressed the NAACP as the first black president. It was historic.

He gave a rousing speech. He applauded black civil rights leaders. He warned that racial barriers persist. He noted the disproportionate impact of the health care and economic crises on the black community. He touted education as essential to improving the lives of children. He urged parents to stay involved. He encouraged young people to find role models beyond sports or music.

And, he failed to mention that 70% of African Americans are now being born to single moms, to be raised in single parent homes. The inevitable result is lower family economic status, less parental supervision, and more dysfunction. It's a tough issue to bring up. But, if the issue is not addressed, it's just another pretty speech.

Friday, July 17, 2009

U.N. condemns North Korea . . . again

"The U.N. Security Council on Thursday expanded the list of North Korean bodies and individuals under sanctions for nuclear and missile activities, adding its atomic energy agency and two of its top officials. Altogether, the council's North Korea sanctions committee clamped five new organizations and five people under asset freezes and travel bans, and banned the import into the reclusive communist state of two weapons-related materials."

North Korea still has nuclear warheads and intercontinental missiles capable of reaching U.S. soil. Do the U.N. sanctions make anyone feel safer?

Taliban threatens to kill U.S. soldier

"Local Taliban commanders threatened yesterday to kill a captured American soldier unless the U.S. military stops operations in two districts of southeastern Afghanistan. . . . The U.S. military has said the soldier was noticed missing during a routine check of the unit on June 30 and was "believed captured." The Taliban said on its Web site July 6 that it was holding the soldier, but it did not elaborate on his whereabouts, nor did it provide any proof such as a photo. The U.S. military has said it intercepted communications in which insurgents talked about holding an American. "

Why is this not a bigger story?

Why are more Americans (and the American media) more focused on the custody battle over Prince, Paris and Blanket?

Sotomayor is a liberal!

Weeks of investigation and days of grilling have revealed that . . . Sotomayor is a liberal.

This should come as no surprise.

If conservatives want to keep liberals off the Supreme Court, they need to win more elections.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sotomayor and Puerto Rican independence

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's critics have "discovered" that she supported independence for Puerto Rico while a college undergraduate.

In fact, at one time or another during their youth or young adulthood, most Puerto Rican intellectuals are seduced by the romantic idea of independence. And, as they gain wisdom and experience, they realize how impractical Puerto Rican independence would be.

It's the equivalent of white suburban college kids in the 60's and 70's and beyond (some of whom are now Republican members of the Senate judiciary committee) singing along with John Lennon, "Imagine there's no countries . . . And no religion too . . . Imagine no possessions . . ."

College sophomores who believe in the truth of John Lennon's lyrics did not grow up to be atheistic anarchists.

And, Puerto Rican undergraduates, on the island or on the mainland, who support independence for a year or two do not grow up to be anti-American terrorists.

Both are simply a stage of intellectual development.

If this is all the dirt they dug up on Sotomayor, she really must be clean.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Afghanistan: Record death tolls?

"Six Ukrainians supplying British troops in Afghanistan were killed in a helicopter crash on Tuesday and two U.S. Marines and an Italian soldier were killed in what could become the bloodiest month in the 8-year-old war. . . . A total of 43 foreign soldiers have already died this month as U.S. and British troops simultaneously launched the two biggest operations of the war to seize Helmand province, the Taliban's opium-producing heartland. The highest death toll for Western forces in Afghanistan since 2001 is 46 for an entire month."

Of course, our media will remain firmly focused on whether Katherine Jackson gets custody of Prince Michael II.

If you think I'm kidding, the Afghan story is on page 10. Check out the front pages stories about Bubbles the Chimp.

Another "jobs program"?

"President Barack Obama on Tuesday touted the nation's community colleges as a key ingredient in his efforts to resuscitate the flailing economy. He called for a $12 billion investment to prepare millions of people for well-paying, 21st century jobs. Obama's funding commitment, if ultimately approved by Congress, would bring new academic programs, new buildings and a new sense of optimism to America's nearly 1,200 community colleges. The White House says the $12 billion would be spread over 10 years, and would be paid for by ending wasteful subsidies to banks and private lenders of student loans."

This could be a good idea. This could be a bad idea. But, it won't do a thing to lower unemployment today or tomorrow or any time in the next few years.

When the administration sells everything as a "jobs program" to "reduce unemployment", they're being dishonest.

Cuba: What happened to "progress towards democracy"?

"The first talks between the Obama administration and Cuba ended Tuesday with an invitation for U.S. diplomats to visit Havana in December, marking the official beginning of the first dialogue between Havana and Washington in six years. The invitation came as the head of the Cuban delegation characterized the six-hour gathering as a ``fruitful working session.'' ''Progress was made in the identification of areas in which both countries should work and cooperate . . . '' Dagoberto Rodríguez Barrera, Cuba's deputy foreign minister, said in a statement. "

We were told further contacts with the Castro regime were dependent upon Cuba's "progress towards democracy". What happened to that pre condition to better relations?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Women flogged for wearing pants

"Police in Sudan arrested 13 women in a raid on a cafe and flogged 10 of them in public for wearing trousers in violation of the country's strict Islamic law, one of those arrested said today. The 13 women were at a cafe in the capital, Khartoum, when they were detained on Friday by officers from the public order police, which enforces the implementation of Sharia law in public places. The force randomly enforces an alcohol ban and often scolds young men and women mingling in public."

We could have 100,000 troops in the Middle East for 100 years, and never impose modernity upon the region. Why do we waste young American lives trying?

Candidates Bush and Obama said as much. Presidents Bush and Obama escalated our involvement. Again, why?

The latest CIA scandal

"Congressional demands for an investigation grew on Monday over new disclosures that a secret CIA program to capture or kill al-Qaida leaders was concealed from Congress for eight years, perhaps at the behest of former Vice President Dick Cheney. The program, which never got off the ground and remains shrouded in mystery, was designed to target leaders of the terrorism network at close range, rather than with air strikes that risked civilian casualties, government officials with knowledge of the operation said Monday. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. The program was canceled last month by CIA Director Leon Panetta shortly after he himself first learned of it."

I'm not sure that a CIA assassination squad is legal.

I'm not sure whether a program in the planning stage, "which never got off the ground", must be reported to Congress.

I am sure that a plan "to capture or kill al-Qaida leaders", "designed to target leaders of the terrorism network at close range, rather than with air strikes that risked civilian casualties", would be wildly popular and garner overwhelming support among the American public.

I don't know why any Democratic leader of Congress would want to pick this fight.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Christians in Iraq

"A car bomb exploded near a church as worshippers left Sunday Mass, killing at least four civilians and injuring 18 in one of several attacks on Iraq's beleaguered Christian minority. . . . Iraq's Christians have often been attacked by extremists, and many have fled the country."

One unintended consequence of the Bush / Cheney war in Iraq has been the destruction of one of the world's oldest Christian communities.

Another deadly weekend in Afghanistan

"A bomb blast killed two U.S. Marines in Afghanistan's dangerous south, where thousands of American troops have deployed in a massive operation to oust Taliban fighters from the country's opium poppy region, officials said Sunday. . . . The two Marines were killed Saturday in Helmand. . . . The American casualties come after eight British deaths in Helmand in a 24-hour period ending Friday, triggering debate in Britain about its role in Afghanistan."

Of course, the big news in the U.S. media is the Palin resignation and the Michael Jackson funeral / custody case.

Update: Another American was killed on Sunday.

"Gotcha" politics

It's what we've devolved into.

Last week, the left was laughing over Alaska Gov. Palin's reference to the "department of law" (what it's called in Alaska), instead of calling it the "legal department" or "attorney general's office", as proof that she's a moron.

Today, the right will ask about any silly sounding thing Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor ever said or wrote.

Why do our political and media "leaders" focus exclusively on the nonsense?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Those morally superior Republicans

"Nevada Sen. John Ensign has acknowledged that his parents paid his mistress and her family $96,000 in April 2008 . . . After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time," said Paul Coggins, counsel to Ensign. . . . Ensign's father, Mike, is a well-heeled casino executive, having left his post as chairman of the Mandalay Resort Group in 2005. Ensign's father took $29 million in stock options when he left in 2005 and two years earlier had cashed out $103 million worth of stock."

Get that?

The self described "Christian conservative" Ensign used the money his dad made from the gaming industry to pay hush money to his mistress.

Gambling? sex? blackmail?

And these folks have the nerve to lecture the rest of us.


"With the economy still firmly in the grip of a tenacious recession, President Barack Obama is urging Americans to have patience and give his economic recovery plan time to work. Restating themes he laid out in his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said in an op-ed posted early Sunday on The Washington Post's Web site that his $787 billion stimulus program was not expected to return the economy to full health, but to provide a boost that would stop the free fall."

Actually, the administration promised the stimulus would end the recession, and the administration promised the stimulus would hold unemployment to under 8%. They were wrong on both counts.

It's not the American public's fault for remembering the Obama administration's promises.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who will pay for health care "reform"?

"Employees of large South Florida corporations may get hit with a new tax on their healthcare benefits under a bipartisan proposal being supported by 14 United States senators. The move, led by Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, is aimed at taxing the most expensive employer-based plans in the United States. Wyden told The Miami Herald that he is ''very, very, very much aware'' that Miami's healthcare costs are among the highest in the country. The prospects for such a tax have been bouncing up and down in Congress over the past few weeks as politicians seek viable solutions. On Friday, the Associated Press reported that key House leaders were going in another direction, pushing to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for healthcare reforms -- a move that will be opposed by Republicans and some moderate Democrats."

Tax employees' health care benefits, i.e., middle class workers?

Tax employers in high cost regions, i.e., encourage the discontinuation of employer provider health care programs?

Tax the wealthy, i.e., by past standards, workers making more than $75,000 per year?

The president and Congress may pass their idea of health care reform, but, if this is how they pay for it, they'll lose their next elections.

BTW - During the campaign, weren't we told we would pay for health care reform with "savings" and by withdrawing from Iraq?

Friday, July 10, 2009

New military orders in Afghanistan still make no sense

"U.S. Marines trapped Taliban fighters in a residential compound and persuaded the insurgents to allow women and children to leave. The troops then moved in -- only to discover that the militants had slipped out, dressed in women's burqa robes. The fighters, who might owe their lives to the new U.S. commander's emphasis on limiting civilian casualties, were among hundreds of militants who have fled the offensive the Marines launched last week in southern Helmand province. Marine officers say keeping the Taliban from returning so the Afghan government can establish a presence will be a bigger challenge."

Of course, out of "respect for the local culture", the commander wouldn't let the troops ask anyone to drop their veil, simply to prove they were beardless.

I assume these Taliban fighters will not change their ways. They escaped certain death and / or capture, and will now fight (and kill Americans) another day.

It is unfair and unacceptable for the military leadership to force our soldiers to fight under these unworkable rules of engagement.

This brings to mind a scene from "Nuns on the Run" or "Some Like It Hot" or any old Mel Brooks movie, in which guys escape by putting on a dress. It would be laughable, if it wasn't going to result in so many unnecessary and unavoidable American casualties.

Friendly advice for Sarah Palin?

In his latest column, uber conservative Cal Thomas offered "friendly advice" to Sarah Palin:

"Palin should hire a speech coach and follow that person's advice. She has a pleasant enough speaking voice, but the tone needs to be adjusted, as do her word choices. . . . And she needs a hair, makeup and wardrobe makeover. She is a beautiful woman, but appearance should not be the first thing one reacts to when people look at her."

When was the last time a good looking male politician - - Kennedy, Clinton, Edwards, Romney, etc. - - was told he was "too good looking" and should make himself less physically attractive?

If Palin does make her self appear plainer and dowdy, will she be told that she's "too butch"?

And, if she gets a clearer crisper speech pattern and speaking style, will she be too "bossy" and "bitchy"?

There's much to criticize about Sarah Palin, as to her education, her experience and her policy positions. But, if you don't see the sexism in much of the critique of Palin, from both the left and the right, you're blind.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Billions in aid go to areas that backed Obama in '08

That's the headline.

"Billions of dollars in federal aid delivered directly to the local level to help revive the economy have gone overwhelmingly to places that supported President Obama in last year's presidential election. . . . Counties that supported Obama last year have reaped twice as much money per person from the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package as those that voted for his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain . . . The reports show the 872 counties that supported Obama received about $69 per person, on average. The 2,234 that supported McCain received about $34."

Regardless of your political affiliation, this is wrong.

And, it's why big government big spending projects get a bad reputation - - they tend to end up corrupt and riddled with favoritism.

It was wrong when Bush and Cheney gave no bid contracts to Halliburton.

The cure for that wrong is to remove favoritism from the system, not to create a rewards system for your own supporters.

P.S. - News like this is manna from heaven for those who oppose single payer and the public option.

Obama's popularity falling 2% per month

"Yesterday, I noted a Quinnipiac poll in the political bellwether state of Ohio showing Obama's approval rating dropping to 49 percent, and today Rasmussen finds that he received his lowest rating ever in the firm's "Presidential Approval Index." While Rasmussen has been criticized by some for releasing polls that tend to skew Republican, Obama's approval rating has dropped to 56 percent in the latest Gallup daily tracking poll, also a new low. At the same time, his Gallup disapproval rating has climbed to 36 percent, it's highest ever. While, taken individually, each of these polling results could be seen as a blip, taken together, they indicate public perception of Obama is slipping . . ."

It's simple math. Multi trillion dollar deficits + 10% unemployment = growing unpopularity

Additionally, as Obama actually makes decisions and hard choices, he disappoints that part of his electoral base who voted for Obama because it was cool, but didn't know where Obama stood on the issues, and in fact disagree with Obama on various issues.

As predicted, once he goes beyond calls for "hope" and "change" and gets down to specifics, Obama starts turning people off.

Early term abortion

"Roughly a fourth of American women getting early abortions last year did so with drugs rather than surgery, statistics show, as a new study reported improved safety in using the so-called ``abortion pill.'' Some experts predict the percentage of such ''medical abortions,'' which offer more privacy than surgical termination at an abortion clinic or hospital, will rise even more . . . The research . . . shows that a new way of giving pills to induce abortion virtually eliminated the risk for a rare but dangerous infection. . . . .The procedure, which works during the first nine weeks of pregnancy, involves swallowing Mifeprex, known chemically as mifepristone, at a doctor's office. Originally known as RU-486, the pill causes an embryo to detach from the uterine wall. A second pill, misoprostol, is used 24 to 48 hours later to cause contractions and push the embryo out of the uterus. These drugs are different from Plan B, which is taken within a couple days of contraceptive failure or unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy from occurring."

The abortion disputes are primarily over "casual", late term and under age abortion, and abortion clinics "in my backyard". But, the general public overwhelmingly tolerates, if not supports, access to early term abortion.

Anti abortion and pro choice radicals will never be satisfied. Nonetheless, this technology could eventually resolve most abortion related issues to the satisfaction of most people.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remember the "Pickens Plan"?

Remember all those television commercials funded by and featuring the billionaire who was going to solve all our energy problems out of the goodness of his heart?

"His "Pickens Plan" called for a number of changes such as investing in wind and solar energy, rebuilding the country's electrical grid and replacing gasoline with natural gas in cars and trucks. . . But after spending millions on television commercials and a public relations tour that took him to 74 cities and 22 town halls, his plan has run into some sizeable hurdles, most notably a crash in energy prices. As prices plunged, the Texas billionaire's hedge funds lost billions of dollars. . . . . The Texas oil man made a big splash last year by leasing about 200,000 acres in West Texas for a massive 1000 megawatt wind farm. But he said Tuesday that the plan has fallen apart because of technical problems concerning transmission. . . . The Pickens Plan also calls for building fleets of cars and trucks to burn natural gas. But so far efforts have failed to create incentives for natural gas vehicles. Last year, Pickens' Clean Energy Fuels Corp. pumped $19 million into a California bond initiative that would have handed rebates to people who bought natural gas and other alternative-fuel vehicles. But critics said the measure would have steered taxpayer dollars to Pickens, who is the majority shareholder of a company that supplies natural gas for transportation, and voters rejected it."

In other words, it's a scam to get the government to fund and/or subsidize industries in which he's heavily invested and/or controls the technology. Without tax dollars, it makes no economic sense. And, if Pickens can't get his hands on our tax dollars, he'll take his billions and go home.

Of course, the same people who thought an energy billionaire had the cure to our energy woes (created in large part by the energy industry) now seem to think that the private health insurance industry has the solution to the health care crisis (created in large part by the health insurance industry).

They don't. They're just looking to make more and larger profits off the taxpayers and the consumers. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but we shouldn't fall for their sales pitches

Good news for the two party system?

I hope U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek wins the Democratic Party primary, and then the general election, for one of Florida's two U.S. Senate seats in 2010.

And, I can't stand his likely opponent, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist is a political chameleon who seems devoid of consistency or principles. The first time Crist ran for the U.S. Senate, approximately 10 years ago, it was as a doctrinaire Reagan / Gingrich Republican. Today, he's running as a pragmatic, centrist, non partisan friend-of-Barack. Crist is a phony. But, an elect-able phony.

Nonetheless, the following good news for Charlie Crist is also good news for America, if you believe we need two strong opposing political parties to keep each other in line.

"He's winning glowing praise from conservatives casting him as the future of the GOP, but Marco Rubio's early fundraising raises doubts about his viability in a Senate match-up against Gov. Charlie Crist. Nobody expected the former state House speaker from Miami to match Crist in fundraising, but Rubio's announcement Tuesday that he raised just $340,000 had Republicans questioning his ability to compete. ''It's hard to call him credible when he only raised that much in his first quarter. . . . No candidate wins if they're outraised 10 to one,'' said Republican consultant Jamie Miller of Sarasota. 'Candidates sometimes like to say, `I'm running a real grass-roots campaign, going to all these clubs where people are clapping and happy to see me.' But that's about three percent of the voters.''

I want Meek to win. But, in the interest of a strong two party system, I have to hope Crist is the Republican nominee.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

"Bombs and bullets killed seven American troops on Monday, the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in nearly a year — and a sign that the war being fought in the Taliban heartland of the south and east could now be expanding north."

Why are we there? What is our goal? When do we leave?

And, why is this not front page news (instead of Michael Jackson and Sarah Palin)?

Harold & Kumar & Barack

"Actor Kal Penn, who last year portrayed a captive in an orange jumpsuit escaping from Guantánamo, started a new job Monday as a liaison between the White House and Asian communities. The Indian-American actor is taking a break from Hollywood to work as an associate director in the Office of Public Liaison, with a focus on connecting Obama with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, as well as arts groups. Penn had a recurring role on Fox's TV show House and starred in the so-called stoner films including Harold & Kumar Go to WhiteCastle and its sequel, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantánamo Bay."

How does this fit in with Obama's "anti drug" / "anti legalization" positions?

In a way, it's typical Obama - - blatantly appeal to a constituency while working against their interests and opposing their goals.

Honduras: Mixed signals

"The Obama administration is irked by the fact that Zelaya sought much of his advice from Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. But Washington has joined leaders from across the Americas in trying to bring end to the crisis and seek Zelaya's return to Tegucigalpa."

Do we or do we not support the deposed Honduran president?

We should decide that before we stick our nose in domestic Honduran affairs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

This is why you don't encourage protesters . . .

unless you intend to back them up.

"Thousands of people swarmed Tegucigalpa's airport Sunday in a raucous and sometimes violent cry to demand the return of toppled President Manuel Zelaya, whose homecoming was postponed when authorities here refused to let his plane land. . . . Outside the airport, soldiers and police in riot gear formed a human shield around the runway and the military used tear gas to break up rock-throwing protesters. One man who tried to scale the security fence was shot in the head."

Talk is cheap and easy. But, in foreign countries, the protesters we encourage get killed. If we're not going to back them up, we need to shut up.

Gaffe or policy shift?

When the vice president is a loose cannon, you never know if what he says is a gaffe or a major policy change.

"Israeli officials have welcomed comments by US Vice-President Joe Biden that America would not stand in the way of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear plants. Mr Biden contradicted his country's most senior military commander, Admiral Mike Mullen, when he responded, three times, to questions on the American ABC's This Week program that Israel was free to do what it needed to do. "If the Netanyahu Government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice," Mr Biden said. Israeli officials have read the comments as a sign the US is preparing a "plan B" in the event that its proposed dialogue with Iran fails to rein in Tehran's uranium enrichment program."

Either the Obama administration just shifted gears on Iran (i.e., the U.S. no longer opposes an Israeli preemptive attack on Iran), or Biden should be told to shut up.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Our reaction could not have been weaker . .

"Taunting the United States on its birthday, North Korea fired seven missiles into the Sea of Japan early Saturday in a provocative move that some experts said might have been intended to discourage deployment of new missile defenses against the communist state. . . . In Washington, the Obama administration reacted with dismay to the latest in a series of North Korean provocations that included an underground nuclear test on Memorial Day. ''This type of North Korean behavior is not helpful,'' said State Department spokesman Karl Duckworth. ``What North Korea needs to do is fulfill its international obligations and commitments.''

"Not helpful" is what you call evidence of fraud in another nation's local elections, or a country's violation of trade sanction against a third party. "Not helpful" is not what you call the testing of missiles capable of hitting Hawaii.

That's called an act of war.


Those who were breathlessly reporting and repeating rumors about Palin's husband's alleged membership in the Alaskan Independence Party find it unreasonable to inquire as to Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor's advocacy for and connections to a pro independence, fairly radical Puerto Rican civil rights group.

By the way - - I support Sotomayor. But, I oppose hypocrites.

Colin Powell needs to shut up

"Colin Powell says Michael Jackson had controversy in his life, but in death his art should be celebrated. . . . "Yes, there were some challenges in his life," Powell told CNN's "State of the Union," which released excerpts of the interview ahead of the broadcast. "Yes, there was a great deal of controversy about him. But he's now passed on. Let's celebrate his art."

The problem isn't the "controversy".

The problem isn't the "challenge".

The problem is the serial sexual abuse of and inappropriate relationships with young boys.

In his next statement, maybe Powell can tell us how many records you have to sell in order to be "celebrated", notwithstanding any child molestation, drug abuse and baby buying.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

120,000+ U.S. troops in Iraq

As you celebrate the Fourth, remember, there are still 120,000+ U.S. troops in Iraq.

Obama's "troop withdrawal" has so far been a sham - - our troops have simply been redeployed to less populous areas of Iraq.

"American commanders and Iraqi officials and residents are watching with growing unease as U.S. combat forces end their duty in Iraq's urban areas this week, amid almost daily reports of violence. U.S. officials worry that as they continue to battle the remnants of an insurgency and efforts to reignite sectarian strife, they will be losing critical, on-the-ground intelligence gleaned from the neighborhoods they once lived in and patrolled. . . . Tuesday is the deadline for American combat troops to withdraw from cities and move to bases outside population centers. The date was established in a security pact approved last year . . . "

This is the Bush / Cheney plan, negotiated before the election, not the withdrawal promised by "anti war" candidate Obama.

Another smooth move

"Vice President Joe Biden's surprise two-day visit this weekend to Iraq was meant to ''re-establish contact'' with leaders here, but some Iraqis bristled at the messenger more than the message. Biden is well known in Iraq for his earlier support of a plan to give three-way autonomy to each major ethnic group here -- Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab and Kurd -- under a central government. Protesters burned an American flag in Sadr City, a crowded Baghdad slum, and chanted, ''No, no for occupation! No, no for America!'' One of them, Mohammed Kathem, 40, an administrator, said many of the protesters hit the streets after an imam encouraged them to do so at Friday prayers. ''Biden's visit sent the signal to us that Iraq will be divided,'' he said. ``Biden's background doesn't allow him to play any role in reconciliation.''

The two least popular Americans among Iraqis are George W. Bush and Joe Biden.

Sending Biden to Iraq is simply stupid.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ensign out, Sanford out, Palin out . . .

Get ready for Obama vs. Romney in 2012.

Now you're figuring out the cost?

"Colin Powell, one of President Obama's most prominent Republican supporters, expressed concern Friday that the president's ambitious blitz of costly initiatives may be enlarging the size of government and the federal debt too much. "I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them," Mr. Powell . . ."

In other words, Powell is disappointed because Obama is doing what Obama said he'd do. Is Powell saying he endorsed Obama because he thought Obama was lieing?

Jobless at 26-year high

George W. Bush + Barack H. Obama = Financial disaster

Swine flu: If they're done scaring us . . .

"With swine flu continuing to spread around the world, researchers say they have found the reason it is — so far — more a series of local blazes than a wide-raging wildfire. The new virus, H1N1, has a protein on its surface that is not very efficient at binding with receptors in people's respiratory tracts, researchers at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology report in Friday's edition of the journal Science. "While the virus is able to bind human receptors, it clearly appears to be restricted," Ram Sasisekharan, lead author of the report, said in a statement."

In other words, we're not all going to get the swine flu and die.

The right to be left alone works both ways

Each of us has the right to be left alone, to do and say what we want, free of governmental intrusion.

Yet, for some reason, some people think we also have the right to the approval and acceptance of others.

In fact, as private individuals, acting purely in the private sector, we each have the right not only to live as we want, but also to reject what we don't want.

In other words, my religion can preach that you go to hell, and your religion can preach that I go to hell. Neither of us has the "right" to belong to the other one's church.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Electing a movie star with no electoral or governmental experience . . .

as governor of the nation's largest state, and simultaneously recalling an experienced governor who balanced the budget by covering spending with taxes.

How's that working out for you, California?

"Its budget gap growing and its political process for addressing the gap unhinged, California will begin Thursday to pay vendors and taxpayers with i.o.u.'s . . . The bulk of the warrants - which will offer recipients an interest rate of 3.75 percent -- will be issued to Californians waiting for their income tax refunds, though some will be issued to local governments as well as to vendors doing business with the state."

Honduran drugs: Yes or No?

"The regime that ousted Manuel Zelaya in Honduras claimed Tuesday that the deposed president allowed tons of cocaine to be flown into the Central American country on its way to the United States. "Every night, three or four Venezuelan-registered planes land without the permission of appropriate authorities and bring thousands of pounds ... and packages of money that are the fruit of drug trafficking," its foreign minister, Enrique Ortez, told CNN en Espanol. "We have proof of all of this. Neighboring governments have it. The DEA has it," he added. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne in Washington said he could neither confirm nor deny a DEA investigation."

It would make sense to get the DEA to "confirm or deny" the involvement of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in cocaine trafficing before we insist on his restoration to office.

9.5% unemployment

Forget about the economy.

Worry about public safety.

9.5% unemployment translates into huge increases in crime - - just as they're cutting back on public safety, and spending what public safety money they have on salary increases, pensions and benefits.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bars in Utah ski towns?

It's truly amazing how all the self appointed guardians of public morality during good times are only too happy to encourage drinking and gambling as revenue sources, now that they're running into financial difficulties.

For example:

"For the last 40 years, dropping into a bar in Utah has been a complicated affair: Patrons have to fill out an application, pay a fee and become a member before they can go in for a drink. It is one of several restrictive rules governing alcohol consumption in Utah that made the heavily Mormon state one of the toughest places in the nation to get a drink. But some of that will change on Wednesday when a new state law kicks in eliminating the need for people to become members of bars to go inside."

When Mormons allow drinking, and married governors and senators are playing the field, can we all agree to stop telling each other how to live?

Gov. Sanford: No surprise

Not the first time, not the first woman.

"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said yesterday that he "crossed lines" with a handful of women other than his mistress - but never had sex with them. The governor said he "never crossed the ultimate line" with anyone but Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine at the center of a scandal that has derailed his once-promising political career. "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair; this was a love story," Sanford said. "A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day." . . . He said that during the encounters with other women he "let his guard down" with some physical contact but "didn't cross the sex line." He wouldn't go into detail. Sanford, 49, said the casual encounters happened outside the United States while he was married but before he met Chapur, on trips to "blow off steam" with male friends."

He "crossed lines"? "A forbidden . . . tragic . . . love story"? He "let his guard down" with "other women" on trips to "blow off steam" with male friends?

Just. Go. Away.